US-China: Who is bigger and when



Derek Scissors | American Enterprise Institute


When will China pass the US in economic size? The near-universal belief that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has already passed or is soon to pass the US in size1 has multiple distinct flaws. These range from the gross—Chinese government statistics are unreliable—to the subtle—none of the ways economic size is measured are especially reliable.

Obviously, the policies of the two countries matter, especially whether China ever returns to the pro-market reform path.2 While evaluating the competing development models is contentious and complex, growth arithmetic is simple. Putting policy aside, “the year 2030” turns out not to be a bad call for when China will pass the US in economic size, but so is “never.”


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